As world leaders meet at the United Nations this week, World Vision says that progress towards the reduction of poverty is “dismally off-track”.
An emergency session to discuss the Millennium Development Goals – instigated by Gordon Brown – will take place on Thursday.
World Vision warns that failure to act will leave the poverty reduction goals “unattainable”.
“This month’s meeting is the last chance for the international community to demonstrate its resolve and honour its commitment to the world’s poorest people,” says Dean Hirsch, president of World Vision International.
In the year 2000, the world's governments committed to ending extreme poverty by 2015 through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The eight MDGs focus on areas like universal access to education and eradicating disease. Reaching goals four, five and six – reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating AIDS, malaria and other diseases – is foundational to addressing severe poverty in the developing world.
“We have the solutions to implement and thereby prevent the deaths of millions of children each year,” says Hirsch, who is addressing world leaders and UN officials in a series of meetings on the MDGs.
“But governments lack the political will.”
Health and poverty
Good health is fundamental to breaking the cycle of poverty. World Vision has placed community-based maternal and child health at the core of its global health strategy, and is investing heavily in efforts to help achieve MDGs four, five and six.
“We believe that in three years we can significantly reduce malnutrition for children under five and improve the health of up to five million children,” says Hirsch.
Speaking at various forums on the MDGs, Hirsch notes that if national leaders accept responsibility for the inadequate progress towards the MDGs, and agree to replicate and scale up successes, there is a “genuine possibility of fulfilling the promises made to the world’s poorest people in 2000”.
“Our collective challenge – governments, the private sector, humanitarian organisations, civil society groups and others – is to remedy a gross violation of the most basic rights – to clean water, adequate food, basic health care – that currently leads to millions of children and women dying annually from easily preventable causes,” Hirsch says.
“This is a moral imperative. Every child who dies in extreme poverty represents an unacceptable loss of human potential.”
24 September 2008